Last night Super Donkey started on a mission to raise money to get his cat back from the vet (step one: find a new vet), and even though he has already raised enough cash, you still need to check out his wonderful work.
Kelsey the Scottie Dog in upcycled shaggy chenille – handmade by Leah of Vintage Chenille.
Oooh…I’ve got it bad. The “it” is puppy-lust and this particular case was brought on by my mom’s brand-new miniature schnauzer, Axel. All it took was one introductory snuggle in the parking lot of a local stir-fry joint and I was hooked. I spent the next half-hour trying to figure out how I could fit him into my purse and get him home without anyone being the wiser. Sadly, though, all of the puppy-lust in the world doesn’t change the fact that my busy-busy life simply won’t allow for a pet. Not even a cute little bearded fella with the softest fur and the sweetest puppy breath and the nicest kisses…oh, here I go again. Let’s just take a peek at some awesome, canine-friendly, handmade goods while I dream of ways to make that tiny, four-legged dreamboat my own.
“If I had a puppy, I would walk him every day.” The collars pictured above by The Black Lantern Studios have been re-purposed from thrifted leather belts. These handsome upcycled collars will keep your prized-pooch secure and stylish in the dog park or on the street. Vintage belts are cut to size, and then d-rings and heavy duty copper rivets are added to fasten. Black Lantern Studios can even make your dog’s collar to order and offer custom hot-stamping, if you would like your piece personalized with Fido’s name.
“If I had a puppy, I would take him with me wherever I go.” These Snuggy Luggage pet beds by The Pop Stops Here have been cleverly upcycled from vintage suitcases and are ready for travel, both around the world or around the town. Each suitcase is transformed into a portable piece of furniture with the addition of a removable, machine washable pillow (made from a durable vintage fabric), painted bun feet and a safety hook. The original inner pockets are left intact to provide toy and leash storage. All of the details are thoughtfully provided; Erica even includes the original key as well as a matching toy for your pooch (or kitty). When you’re ready to hit the road, just close up the suitcase and go!
“If I had a puppy, I would dress him in style.” Ladybug’s fashionable jacket from the Bugduds shop (pictured above, left) was lovingly sewn from a vintage apron. It is fully lined, with an added layer of flannel for warmth. Dorothy, the jacket’s designer (and Ladybug’s owner), makes lovely coats and accessories for dogs of all sizes, like the diminutive but dapper Dilly (above, right); emphasizing the use of recycled/re-purposed fabrics and notions. As a member of Etsy for Animals (EFA), Dorothy donates 5% of her sales to animal welfare organizations.
“If I had a puppy, I would play fetch with him in the park.” I’ve always wondered, though…do dogs call it “throw”? Made from recycled jeans and polyester fill, these fun squeaky balls by The Smiling Frog (above) will keep you and your dog busy for hours while you ponder that question. You’ll also feel great about your purchase because The Smiling Frog donates 25% of the sales from their line of denim dog toys to The Knox County Humane Society in Maine. That’s definitely something to wag your tail about!
“If I had a puppy, I would give him the tastiest treats.” The aptly named Dog Cookie Shop bakes all of their healthy treats to order from the finest natural ingredients. Many of their offerings, like the Peanut Butter and Oatmeal cookies pictured above, are wheat-free, making them suitable for dogs with (and without) wheat allergies. Check out the Dog Cookie Shop, as well, for their new line of gourmet, hand-dipped cookies.
So, mom…can I keep him?
Andrea D’Ambrosia knows what she likes. As the designer behind her ever-evolving creative business, she knows that Washington, DC is the right place for her, and the right place for her designs. “DC style works for me,” she says. “Understated elegance, but with an element of drama.”
Andrea has always been creative, and grew up in a family of makers. Her father built motorcycles, her brother built radios, and she started sewing and knitting with her grandmother at age five. She was the “weird dresser” in high school who made her own clothes instead of flocking to the mall spots the other girls liked.
So when she decided to start her jewelry business full-time in 2006, she knew exactly the type of pieces she wanted to make: elegant items that were versatile and beautiful, but also completely functional.
Andrea’s favorite materials are semi-precious stones like jade, onyx, lapis, and turquoise. She especially loves to combine pearls with turquoise. She uses her favorites, along with whatever she finds that inspires her, to create jewelry that is timeless and sophisticated, never “crafty-craft” or trendy.
Her line is always evolving, because when inspiration strikes, she just goes with it. Andrea finds herself being inspired by fashion, art, music, and the personal style of her own customers. A customer once came to Andrea with a problem. She had an unusual, vintage jaguar pin that she loved, but didn’t want to just stick it on her lapel. She wanted a more modern way to wear it, and Andrea was struck with an idea.
Andrea created a necklace, using the jaguar pin as inspiration for its color and style…but also as the removable clasp of the necklace. This created a one-of-a-kind, versatile look that was really three looks in one! Her customer was delighted, and Andrea was inspired.
In addition to her usual favorite sources for new and vintage beads and stones, Andrea began collecting vintage brooches as well. This is the style that caught my eye and made me pay attention to Andrea’s work. I love the combination of new and old, and that such a simple piece can still be so dramatic, and so versatile.
The vintage brooch items are especially popular with brides, who are often looking for ways to incorporate family jewelry into their wedding looks. Andrea loves the fact that her necklace or bracelet is often the only item from the bride’s wedding day outfit that ever gets worn again!
Andrea loves to work with individual customers on unique looks for them. She has found that she is particularly good at understanding a client’s personal style, and translating that into wearable jewelry that is dramatic and elegant. One of her current projects really intrigued me: combining a customer’s antique cameo collection and a copper chain to create a one-of-a-kind necklace.
Necklaces and bracelets aren’t the only accessories that Andrea likes to make. She credits her professional background in engineering with her emphasis on functionality. Placing function on the same level as form and style naturally translates into a love of all accessories. What other way to make practical dressing exciting and interesting, if not with unusual accessories?
Her obi belts made from men’s neckties were born when she found a particular tie that she liked so much she wanted to wear it herself. She played with the concept for a while until she came up with the current design, just in time for wide belts to come back in style.
Will she continue to branch out into fabric accessories, or make more jewelry? “Who can say what will inspire me next?” she says. There are always ideas for elegant and versatile accessories floating around in her head. You can find Andrea’s work in her Etsy store and at local juried craft shows. You can also contact her for a private appointment or consulation.
Chocolate and Steel: I specialize in fine silver jewelry that uses reclaimed silver. Most of my pieces are created using PMC (precious metal clay). PMC uses silver that is reclaimed from film negatives and x-rays. That silver is ground to a powder and mixed with an organic binder that makes is malleable like clay. So, when I work with it it is in clay form.
After I have created something wonderful for you I fire the piece in a kiln and the organic binder burns away completely and what is left is just he pure silver. MAGIC – wha-la! The final piece is polished, oxidized, brushed, and so on and so forth.
With metal clay I am able to translate my organic inspirations onto an industrial material. So goes the name “Chocolate and Steel”…the combination of organic and industrial, soft and strong, sweet and solid.
Now an independent designer living in Los Angeles, I wake to discover new inspirations everyday. I will be forever grateful for this opportunity to do what I love. I have many hobby-like activities, but creating jewelry is my passion.
Catch these wonderful creations at Bob n Stitch.
Bio: When I was about five I would watch my mother make my Barbie Doll clothes from the scraps from her own dresses. Later I watched her make these long and beautiful gowns. Then she taught me to sew. Sewing was wonderful and frustrating at the same time. After many years of sewing the perfect way I now have given myself the freedom to draw outside the lines. With that new found freedom a new love has appeared and new and edgy work has been created.